This is the story of our third Guatemalan birth. After having one baby in a birthing clinic, and one unplanned home birth, we made plans for a home birth at an apartment we were borrowing near the capital city.
Friday (June 6th, 2014)
Contractions started last night (Thursday night) while I was sitting in the recliner shortly before 10 PM. They weren’t painful at all, just regular “hard stomachs.” We went to bed around 12:30 AM. I slept for about 4 hours and woke up before 5 a.m. I couldn’t get back to sleep and Jubi had been moving around and crying in her crib.We took a walk together as a family with our double stroller from 6:30-8 a.m. I felt somewhat regular contractions during the walk and really felt like I would be having the baby today as with my other two children, whenever I had “real” contractions, they always became regular and never stopped until baby was born, but after our morning walk they continued to slow down and eventually went away throughout the day. I took my shower and got myself all “prettied” up like I always have when I was in labor.
I had a few real contractions while in the shower, but after the shower and doing my hair and makeup, the contractions pretty much stopped for the rest of the day. I did take a nap from about 4:30-6:45 p.m., but it didn’t seem very restful. I napped to have energy for labor as I had no idea when the real deal was going to begin.
Here’s the story of our second baby that God blessed us with in Guatemala. You can read about our first birth story here.
Meeting little sister
Baby on the way
Monday, Dec. 31
At 2 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, Chrisi started feeling contractions (Her stomach getting hard, but this time with an uncomfortable feeling accompanying the hardness, just the exact same feeling as when she was in labor with Hudson.) Chrisi let Michael know about the contractions, but she quietly walked or relaxed during each one and she went about her regular activities like reading her Bible, filling out Hudson’s milestone calendar, cooking, etc.
Knowing that Baby was coming soon, she had Juana, our house helper, cut up a lot of onions to make 2 pounds of black beans in the pressure cooker because she wanted Hudson and Juana to have plenty of food to eat while she and Michael would be at the birthing clinic having the baby. Chrisi took a shower around 6 p.m. to get herself ready as she knew that they would eventually be heading to the midwifes clinic which was about 15-20 minutes away from the apartment. Michael and Chrisi even played two games of “Regenwormen” with Juana at the kitchen table after Hudson went to bed. Continue reading →
While Mayan midwives or comadronas are common across the countryside of Guatemala, finding an English-speaking midwife in Guatemala can be difficult. As best as we can tell, we found the only American-trained, English-speaking midwife in Guatemala City when we found Hannah Friewald at the Centro De Parto Natural where she specializes in water births and has one of the only, if not the only, water birth centers in all of Central America.
Initial newborn exam
Hannah is from Germany where home births are the norm. She has been around it her whole life and also speaks perfect English. She trained in the States through Maternidad La Luz in El Paso, Texas and is also certified in Guatemala (which can be an important thing if your international medical insurance only gives coverage for certified medical care).
Hannah has worked as a midwife for years and has attended some 1,400 births as of May 2011. She said that she has never lost a baby and even told of a couple breech babies she has delivered and some v-bac babies she has delivered, along with a couple emergency situations. She has delivered babies for the ambassadors of a couple different European countries here in Guatemala and seems to keep a full schedule. Continue reading →